November 2021
After 15 years in food service, she finds new focus in retail
Greater freedom, individual responsibility and happiness at work all resulted from Jolene Wiita’s decision to make a job change from dishwashing at Panera Bread to the retail world of HomeGoods.

“I like it because you get to go everywhere,” said Wiita. “I just needed a change. I wanted to do something I really like.”

She built a solid work history for 15 years with ProAct support as a “dishwashing queen” at Panera Bread in Woodbury, where she worked first on a ProAct crew and then independently.

Wiita chose a store where she often shops. Working with ProAct Employment Case Coordinator Kim Lepper in ProAct Employment Support Services, Wiita applied, interviewed, was offered the job and started orientation.

Lepper coached Wiita throughout her five-hour weekday shifts for the first week, then reduced her help to an hour per week, then twice a week and twice a month. The original plan was for Wiita to work on inventory in the back room, but when managers found out she liked to organize, she was moved to the sales floor, she explains.

Wiita’s main task is to remove products from larger merchandise stocking carts, called tanks. There’s pacing and planning, and the tasks are easier on her back than dish work. She’s getting more exercise, too, walking 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day. -more-
"God's hand was truly in this for so many reasons. I'm so proud of her! So blessed to be her mom.” -Deb Wiita, Jolene's mother
Give to the Max for technology
Technology plays a huge role in the facilitation of ProAct's enrichment and employment programs. It helps ProAct participants to thrive and grow, and your Give to the Max contribution will help the nonprofit purchase new Kindles for virtual enrichment programming and laptops for general computer training and employment services classrooms. -more-
Defining terms: ESS
Employment Support Services (ESS) Individualized services and supports that help people maintain paid employment in community businesses/settings. Employment support services occur in integrated community settings.
By the numbers | October
  • 804 participants
  • 9 independent hires
  • 40,181 hours of service

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Awards, gifts celebrate service milestones for participants
At right, Jenny Hennes in Hudson, Wis. receives a 5 Year Service Award. Above, attractive gift bags with service awards for participants are prepared at ProAct in Eagan.
Annual Service Awards for are being presented to nearly 120 ProAct participants this month. The certificates and gifts come after much anticipation for 5, 10, 20 and even 40 years with ProAct. Staff and leaders are thankful that individuals and their families choose ProAct for life enrichment, employment assistance and much more. More photos to come!
Happy Thanksgiving starts with gratitude, individuals share
As many families take in the sights and aromas of steaming turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie, the first "Thanksgiving" celebrates 400 years in 2021.

Loved ones and friends gather and often share the things, people or occurrences they are thankful for from the past year. ProAct participants offer their thanks, and hope others will join them. Here are some examples. Many more to read here
"Family, good food, good sports, nice warm house to stay in and being healthy." Terry, Red Wing

"Having my dog. And, I'm feeling great since my surgery." Katie, Eagan

"I'm thankful for turkey day, McDonald's and Diet Coke." Charlene P., Shakopee

"Easy, I'm thankful for my ProAct family" Danni, staff
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Learn the facts about seizures, and the Diwali festival of lights.
Individualized home supports teach skills, build community
ProAct’s Individualized Home Support Services have been steadily growing. Individuals are receiving training and support for independent living skills and taking part in a variety of community activities.

ProAct staff members meet with each participant weekly to help develop or improve skills and assist in meeting plan goals and objectives. Whether it’s home management skills, cooking, cleaning, organizing, money management, or another area of need, staff find creative ways to help them achieve their independent living goals.
Some of the community activities have ranged from volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, to mall walking, going to the zoo, movies, or other fun activities in the community. Or it may be a day spent running errands and/or going to doctor appointments. One individual enjoys trains, so occasionally an outing is planned around watching trains come and go.
Maintaining Skills classes bring out potential in practical ways
ProAct developed a new enrichment and skills enhancement class in June called Maintaining Skills. The class is designed to assist participants with developing and enhancing their work skills through activities in-center at ProAct, and in the community through volunteer experiences.

In-center, participants work on enhancing their social and communication skills. They also develop positive work behaviors and professional growth through activities such as money counting, inventory, sales and organizing. Staff also assess their current skillsets and help them build new skills that will enrich and enhance their daily lives and each person’s potential to move into competitive employment if they are able. -more-

Businesses and other organizations with mutually beneficial volunteer opportunities are encouraged to contact Jessie Gruber at 651-289-3163 or
Halloween costume honors
Eagan's Halloween Contest produced some interesting winners in different categories. From left are: Wendy C. for "Most Creative," Hope S. - "Cutest," Scott D. for the "Funniest" category, Tanita K. for "Best Overall" and Bobby B. the "Scariest."
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ProAct, Inc. | 651-686-0405 |